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What we do

The Arts & Humanities Research Council logo

Our broad remit

  • We investigate the values and beliefs which underpin both who we are as individuals and how we undertake our responsibilities to our society and to humanity globally.
  • We explore human interactions and the evolution of identities over time. They help us understand not only how individuals and societies operate, but why and with what consequences, both for themselves and for others.
  • Making sense of our historical past, literary and artistic achievements, ability to translate across cultures, and the foundations of knowledge itself.

These are all essential elements of Arts and Humanities research (PDF, 3.6MB). We are also crucial to our capacity to live together in an increasingly interconnected world and to change that world for the better.

How we help the UK economy at home and globally

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This word cloud demonstrates the incredible reach of our resarch.

The UK’s reputation as a creative powerhouse rests on the new knowledge and cultural experiences generated by the Arts and Humanities. Our rich and varied heritage makes the UK distinctive and will continue to do so in the coming decades.

With the fast-growing publishing, TV, film, fashion, music and gaming industries, alongside world-renowned theatres, galleries, libraries and museums - all central to the UK's economic future - it's the arts and humanities that is instrumental in helping to shape skills, ideas and products at the interface between creativity and technology (PDF, 5.3MB) upon which that future turns. 

Our research

The AHRC exists to promote and channel the research that:

• Provides profound insights into ourselves and the nature of the world around us, thereby enabling diverse communities (PDF) and their citizens to play a full and responsible part in society and to live rich and thoughtful lives

• Brings a deep cultural understanding into the realm of international development to tackle problems of world poverty, resource scarcity, state and environmental fragility and respect for human rights in new and productively different ways

• Sustains the UK’s flagship cultural institutions (PDF, 4.9MB) that preserve the nation’s and the world’s extraordinary heritage and act as a calling card to the rest of the world, alongside local arts organisations as pillars of community cohesion, urban regeneration and civic life

• Addresses the distinctive needs of the fastest-growing, creative sector of the UK’s economy (and indeed the global economy) for the greater fusion of artistic design, digital and computing skills.


Further information

We spend our annual allocation (PDF) on research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides economic, social and cultural benefits to the UK, but contributes to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

Following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.

AHRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new body that works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

Read this in Welsh on our Amdanom ni page.